AdSense Ad formats reviewed

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 in AdsenseAdvertisingVideo Channel
AdSense offers different ad formats of which each should be used for a different purpose. Each ad unit performs different and to completely monetize your traffic you need to know which formats you must use. This post is part of our complete AdSense guide. We made a quick introduction video teaching you the basics, please see below. Also make sure to read each format’s review below.
Content Ads
1. AdSense for Content The AdSense for content is the most commonly used form of ad. To use the ad you have to place a snippet of code somewhere in your content and the ad will show. The content ad is recommended for people who have a content-rich website. Means, if you are a blogger, have a forum, or simply a website with text then this ad will monetize your traffic nicely. You can customize the layouts of the ads greatly. You can change the color of the title, text, background, border and link. Please see the attached picture on the right for a specification of what the title, url etc. is.The design is of great importance, as it decides whether the user will click on your ad or not, please see this post for the best AdSense colors. The placements are very important as well but that’s part of our upcoming post about the best AdSense placements.
2. AdSense for SearchSearch ads are less frequently used but they are another perfect way of monetizing your website. Google allows you to set up custom search engines which you can modify depending on your needs. You could for example add website’s of your choice to the search engine which are then used for collecting search results once the user enters a search string. You could also let the search engine search the web and emphasize website’s of your choice. It’s actually a perfect site search as well. Google has the best search algorithms, so why not use them? We here on DuoBlogger prefer the CSE because it’s a lot more efficient than wordpress’ included search engine. Whenever someone searches something and then clicks an ad you will be paid.The search engine ads have an high CTR of around 4-5 percent because of perfectly targeted ads and should consequently not be underestimated in terms of potential revenue. Please don’t start putting Google searches everywhere on your site, as that looks just crappy and would make me leave the site instantly. I have seen a lot of website’s doing so, trying to squeeze every possible penny out of the traffic. Don’t do that as it will make your visitor’s feel uncomfortable. Placing one google site search placed carefully at a good location is what you should try to work on.3. AdSense for feeds
Adsense for feeds
Google realized the importance of RSS feeds. People don’t necessarily want to visit their favorite website every time for new content. They want to be informed instantly in case there is any new content available for reading. Thus more and more people started reading RSS feeds to always stay informed about new content. The problem is that the readers don’t access your website anymore because feeds are usually hosted on sites like feedburner. A consequence is that whenever your reader reads your new content he won’t see your ads and thus not generate any revenue for you. Think of 120000 readers who read your blog but can’t be monetized by you, that would be a pity and a serious hole in your pocket.That’s why Google introduced AdSense for feeds. The feed ads are displayed inside the feed, surrounded by your content usually. Feed ads have an extremely high CTR because of their placement right next to the content or even in the content. The reader is forced to have a look on the ad and then in some cases clicks it, resulting in money for you. The CTR you can expect is somewhere between 3 and 10 percent. If you have a lot of people reading your blog, then you surely shouldn’t miss the feed ads.4. AdSense for domains
AdSense for domains
AdSense now introduced ads for parked domains. So in case you have a lot of parked domains you might be interested in using AdSense for domains. They can’t use the domain name or analyze the content to display relevant ads. There is no content and what does the domain name reveal? Usually not much. That’s why google is analyzing the search string and depending on what the user searched displays relevant ads to that. Because of the extremely relevant ads parked domains usually have high CPC niche ads. Same applies to the CTR: Because of relevant ads and the layout of the parked domains the visitors tend to click more often on the ads, resulting in nice CPC. In fact the CPC of parked-domain sites is somewhere around 5-15 percent.Interest-based ads could make the parked domains even better. Because Google knows which website’s the user was previously on they can generate ads relevant to the user’s interests. Interesting ads are clicked more often. Not many of us have parked domains but in case you have one, seriously consider displaying adsense for domains. The only bottleneck is the traffic. Parked domains usually don’t have that high traffic.5. AdSense video units
AdSenses video units
More and more people asked for video ads instead of image ads. Google introduced them in 2006, made then however available to all publishers in 2008. To activate the video ads you have to use a supported format: 336*280, 300*250 or 250*250. Afterwards make sure that image ads are enabled. There is no guarantee that video ads are shown as Google overtakes that job completely. To disable video ads you have to disable image ads or switch to another ad format. You don’t earn money from the plays, only from clicks on the ad unit once the video finished playing or whilst it is playing. The video ad does not start playing automatically. For a live example please see the previous link to the Google blog.Users enjoy media and videos. However, it can be questioned whether your users enjoy watching ad-spots? I usually don’t when I am turning on television with some exceptions. There is however one major difference, those video ads are relevant to your content. The user wouldn’t have opened your website if he wouldn’t be interested in your content. I for example really enjoy watching the World of Warcraft ads on television – yes, those are the ads which are shown by AdSense as well. I must say that I am really unsure about the performance of this ad unit. Another very important aspect is that the user has to click the ad twice. Sounds bad on the first sight doesn’t it? Yes, you should actually get a lower CTR with the video-ad because of that. However, there is one significant advantage compared to the other ads: You don’t get any missclicks at all. Missclicks are caused by users accidentally clicking on the ads, that’s however almost impossible if the user has to click twice. The consequence is that you are solely sending quality clicks to the advertiser which convert well. Your reward is a high CPC for the ads.6. AdSense for mobile content
mobile adsense ads
The mobile niche is expanding and so do the devices plus contracts allowing you to access the internet from them. That’s a large potential source of revenue of course if the traffic from such devices keeps increasing. Was only a question of time when Google would introduce mobile ads and that was the case on September 17h 2007. At that time however mobile devices were slightly different. They neither allowed zooming into pages nor had a high resolution. That’s why Google made the ads as tiny as possible, which however seems to be no longer that useful today. If you for example look on the G1 or on the iPhone, both of them allow you to zoom into the page keeping the native resolution of the website alive. It would not make sense to replace AdSense with specific mobile ads on such websites as the design of the default ads is much better. The mobile ads are only useful for websites specifically designed for mobile phone content in a small resolution.One problem are the previously mentioned missclicks. I experienced it myself: My fingers are relatively big and consequently I am not always able to perfectly target the links I want to click. In some cases AdSense units are placed right next to them resulting in a miss click. Miss clicks are potentially dangerous as they result in no conversions which then on the long term lower your CPC. Mobile phone ads have low CPC.7. Expandable Ad Units
Expandable ads
We dedicated a full post to the expandable ads previously on DuoBlogger. Once the user clicks the ad a new on-page window will open, showing more information about the ad it self. You can’t force Google to serve only expandable ads, you can only activate them passively by allowing normal image ads to show. The only way to disable them would be to disable image ads completely. It’s difficult to test them as you don’t have any data allowing you to see the performance of the expandable ads on your site.Still, Google knows that those ads bring the advertisers cash hence they don’t pay for bad clicks. The benefits of the video units apply in this case as well. The user has to click twice, eliminating any potential missclicks. That benefits both the advertiser plus publisher and on the long term results in a higher CPC for you.